Draft:In-person COVID Toolkit

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Covid-19 icon.png FREQUENT UPDATES: This article contains guidance related to COVID-19 that is subject to change. Check the COVID-19 Response at WSU site for the latest information and direct all questions about this article to TLT (tlt@winona.edu).

This in-person COVID toolkit is intended for instructors teaching courses that include in-person class meetings. It features links to checklists, planning guides, sample syllabus statements, frequently asked questions, and other helpful resources for managing COVID-related issues.

Impact of COVID-19 on in-person instruction

COVID-19 considerations for in-person class meetings can be grouped into two major categories: meeting safely and accommodating remote students who must isolate or quarantine. Consult the guides below for more detailed information. Copy and modify the sample syllabus statements or craft your own. Review the readiness checklists to make sure you have all your bases covered. The FAQ includes answers to common questions. If you have any additional questions, contact TLT (tlt@winona.edu).

Requirements and Suggestions

Instructors, please note that this material includes many suggestions for accommodating students who need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. It is the right of the faculty, as part of academic freedom and their control of the curriculum, to set and manage their own attendance policies. The information in this toolkit is offered to help instructors make those decisions. Whether and how you choose to accommodate your students is up to you. The only university requirement in place currently is the use of cloth face coverings indoors.


Is there a mask requirement in classrooms?

In accordance with WSU's decision on August 4th, 2021, all Winona State University students are required to wear approved face coverings during in-person class meetings until further notice. Consult the Teaching and face coverings article for more information.

Are there social distancing requirements in classrooms?

Current MDH guidelines recommend that schools, "maintain an environment where some extra spacing between people can be maintained, especially prior to and for the first couple of weeks of bringing the campus fully together." To the best of our ability, we have scheduled fall classes to maintain a three-foot distance between students. Direct questions and concerns about classroom space to your respective Dean and Tania Schmidt.

Can I remove my mask when I teach?

WSU is following current MDH guidance regarding the use of face coverings by teachers while delivering instruction. This guidance suggests that teachers can safely remove their masks while teaching if a six-foot distance between themselves and their students can be maintained. If preferred, faculty can use transparent face shields without a mask if at least six feet of distance can be maintained.

What if a student identifies as vulnerable?

The following process applies to students who have been diagnosed with an immunocompromised (i.e., weakened immune system) disorder. Students who will be on-campus for fall 2021 but have concerns about their medically-related risk factor(s) and feel the need to seek accommodations should complete the following steps. Contact Gale Lanning, Associate Director of Access Services, with any questions.

  1. Complete the online Access Services Registration Form. Students should use their StarID followed by "@winona.edu" as their username to sign in.
  2. Schedule a Welcome Meeting with Access Services to identify disability-related barriers and appropriate access solutions.
  3. Submit the Supporting Documentation (PDF) with your registration form or bring it to the welcome meeting.

What if I or a student need hearing accommodations?

If you or a student have trouble hearing during a class meeting due to the use of cloth face coverings, there are several avenues for support. You can contact TLT (tlt@winona.edu) to discuss voice amplification options if that would help. As an instructor, you are also permitted to remove your own cloth face covering while teaching, if you can maintain at least a six-foot distance from students at all times. TLT can provide you with a face shield if you want additional protection. If a student requests a different hearing accommodation (e.g., an interpreter) or you would like all of your students to remove their cloth face coverings (e.g., so you can see all their mouths when they speak), please contact Gale Lanning, Associate Director of Access Services to discuss your needs.

Will WSU provide me and my students with face shields?

TLT has both standard and cloth-enclosed face shields that can be distributed to instructors immediately. Contact TLT (tlt@winona.edu) to request one. If you want your students to wear face shields or a student asks for one, contact TLT. We will work with you and your students to determine the safest path forward. If your request for student face shields is related to your need for a hearing accommodation, contact Gale Lanning, Associate Director of Access Services, directly.

What if a student discloses a positive test or contact with someone who tested positive?

There are two ways you may learn that a student in your class has tested positive or had close contact with someone who tested positive: from the student and/or from WSU Health Services. All positive COVID test results are reported to MDH and MDH then informs the university and coordinates contact tracing as needed. Sometimes this information takes several days to reach us. Students can also use the Winona State University COVID-19 Self-Report Form to self-disclose. Finally, we would know if a student tests positive if the student uses our WSU Health Services for testing. You will only be notified by WSU Health Services as part of their contract tracing efforts in response to a student report being present in the classroom while infective. The name of the student will not be disclosed. If a student informs you of a positive test result or close contact with someone who tested positive, please keep that person's identity private. COVID test results are private personal information and you cannot disclose them to anyone if shared by a student. Consult the Handle student COVID status information article for more information. What you can do are the following:

  1. Encourage the student to submit the Winona State University COVID-19 Self-Report Form.
  2. Direct the student to Ask-a-Nurse if that student has any questions.
  3. Inform the rest of your class that someone in the class tested positive and direct them to Ask-a-Nurse if they have any questions.
  4. Contact your Dean and WSU Health Services if you have any questions.

If a student discloses a positive test, can I inform the rest of my class?

As long as no identifiable information is revealed, an instructor can inform the rest of class that a student or students in the class have tested positive. Students can be encouraged to use Ask-a-Nurse campus resources to schedule a test or vaccination or ask questions. If contact tracing is necessary, you and your students may be contacted. Consult the Handle student COVID status information article for more information.

If a student in my class tests positive do I need to move my class online?

If you are interested in changing the delivery mode of an ongoing course, please contact your Dean. In terms of the impact of a positive COVID case on future in-person class meetings, this will depend on the situation (e.g., vaccination status of the other students, the nature of the contact between the infected student and other students in the classroom). You may receive guidance from WSU Health Services as part of the contact tracing process. Contact your department chair, Dean, and WSU Health Services if you have any questions. One thing that would really help assess the scope of any potential exposure during a class meeting is a seating chart.

Should I maintain assigned seats and a seating chart?

If possible, it is highly recommended that you assign seats and keep a seating chart in your courses. Assigning seats and keeping a seating chart can play a significant role in minimizing the number of students that need to quarantine if contact tracing needs to be completed for a positive case in the classroom. Due to the scale of the pandemic, full, timely, effective contact tracing is rarely occurring at the state level so every effort needs to be taken on campus to contain the spread. Contact TLT (tlt@winona.edu) if you would like to explore different ways of accomplishing this.

How do I accommodate a student who has to isolate or quarantine?

If students inform you that they need to isolate (i.e., they tested positive) or quarantine (i.e., they had contact with someone who tested positive), consult the Handle student COVID status information and the Accommodate students who miss class meetings articles. Faculty decide how to manage unscheduled absences due to COVID-19 in their own courses. Options include streaming or recording the live classroom activity and providing alternative activities that meet the same learning objectives.

Can I live-stream and/or record my classroom activities?

We can support live streaming (e.g., through Zoom) and recording from any WSU classroom if necessary. Some WSU classrooms support streaming already using in-room systems. You could also use your laptop's built-in camera and microphone or TLT (tlt@winona.edu) can provide an external camera and microphone that connects to your laptop. Before deciding to stream and/or record your class meetings, consider whether that will be an effective learning experience for your remote students. In some cases, a studio recording or alternative activities may be more effective.

How do students protect their identities if they are attending class sessions live in Zoom?

If students want to protect their identities in Zoom meetings (e.g., to avoid disclosing that they are isolating or quarantining due to COVID-19), there are several steps they can take, including changing their Zoom display name, ensuring that they join the meeting with their camera and microphone disabled, and not revealing their identity through screen sharing or conversations (e.g., audio, chat) during the meeting. Refer them to this article for more detailed information. There are also a couple of things you can do as a meeting host to help students protect their identities, including disabling all participants' cameras and muting all mics when they join the meeting. Review detailed instructions for doing this at the meeting and global level here.

What if a student refuses to wear a cloth face covering or observe proper social distancing in my classroom?

If a student refuses to wear a cloth face-covering and/or observe proper social distancing in your classroom and cannot provide evidence of a university-approved accommodation, you can report the student using the Face Covering & Social Distancing Non-Compliance Reporting and the incident will be addressed using the Student Conduct Code. Responses could include sanctions like disciplinary probation, community service, or suspension. Consider communicating this to your entire class to set expectations. More information on preparing your class can be found in the Take precautions during classroom meetings article.

Can I ask my students if they are vaccinated?

In accordance with current guidance from the Minnesota State Office of the Chancellor, instructors can ask their students if they are vaccinated, in limited circumstances where there is a business purpose. Student disclosure must be voluntary and non-disclosure can be treated as a negative response. More information to follow.

Do vaccinated students who had contact with someone who tested positive need to quarantine?

The MDH guidance on this has changed several times recently and is likely to change again. Current MDH guidance is that people who are identified as close contacts but were fully vaccinated at time of exposure (two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series or first dose in a one-dose series) are not considered exposed and do not need to quarantine.


Title Description
Handling Student COVID Status Information Responding to student information about their COVID status.
Taking Precautions During Class Meetings Maintaining social distance and engaging in preventative public health measures during class time.
Teaching and Face Coverings Using face coverings during in-person class meetings and voice amplification.
Holding Class Meetings Outdoors Reserving and using outdoor spaces for teaching in-person class sessions.
Supporting Students in Isolation or Quarantine Supporting students in isolation or quarantine who cannot attend in-person class meetings.
Managing Your Own Isolation or Quarantine Handling the instructor's absence from in-person class meetings due to isolation or quarantine.
Interacting with Students Outside of Class Time Setting expectations for in-person meetings outside of class time.

Sample syllabus statements

Title Description
General Expectations General statements about accommodation, flexibility, face coverings, and physical distancing.
Unscheduled Absences Statements about accommodating students who miss class meeting for COVID-related reasons.
Classroom Face Covering Statements about face coverings for students and instructor.
Outside Interactions Statements about managing interactions outside class time.
Vulnerable Students Instructions for vulnerable students needing additional safeguards.


Title Description
Course Readiness Checklist Have you accomplished all of your COVID-related course preparation tasks?
Student Readiness Checklist Have you prepared your students for the COVID-related changes to your course?

More wiki articles

External links


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